Driver says sprintcar racing is in her blood

KRISTY Ellis knew she stood out among her primary school classmates as a female motorsport fan.

She didn't care.

As a daughter of former sprintcar driver Steve Ellis, oval track racing was in her blood.

"It was the way I was brought up," she said.

"All the kids at school thought I was funny because my mentors and my idols were sprintcar drivers. My grandparents raced back in the day. It's always been something we've had in the family."

Ellis used to dream of one day driving a sprintcar. That dream has become reality.

The 23-year-old from Lockwood, near Bendigo, is into her third year in the driver's seat and has stepped up to the 410 ranks "the big boys" this season.

She is among the 102 drivers entered in the 41st Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic on Saturday and Sunday.

"It's probably the biggest show of the year. It's the level you want to get at, everyone wants to participate and be a part of it," she said.

"To be able to race it is a big deal for myself and my team. I can't wait, I've been counting down the days.

"The track and facilities are fantastic. Knowing you're racing against the best drivers in the world gives you a bit of a buzz."

Ellis said racing sprintcars typically the domain of men but increasingly becoming less so was both exciting and daunting.

She is one of two females in the Classic field, lining up alongside Rhiannon Burleigh.

"There are a few times you might have a stack with another driver," she said. "They said their piece and you say yours and you think 'is that what I want to do?'

"At the end of the day you have to brush it off."

Making her debut more intriguing is she will race against her partner, Langwarrin speedster James Hennessy.

The pair are yet to crash on the track "I'm waiting for the day it comes" and have provided valuable support for each other.

"It's his first season in sprintcars, we thrive off each other and each other's comments," she said.

"It's great to have a partner in the sport ...we know we'll look after each other out there."

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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